In the past five days, teams have made nearly $600 million worth of commitments in contract extensions, including shortstop Elvis Andrus’ pending deal with the Rangers.
Don’t expect the trend to end.
The Dodgers remain in discussions with left-hander Clayton Kershaw, according to major-league sources. The Indians continue to talk to second baseman Jason Kipnis and outfielder Michael Brantley, though a Kipnis deal is considered unlikely, sources say.
The flurry of recent extensions is partly attributable to the calendar - players and teams often use Opening Day as a deadline for contract negotiations. But a number of clubs are seeking to lock up additional players, reflecting the game’s rising revenues, sources say.
Starting in 2014, the amount of money that teams receive from baseball’s national television contracts will increase from about $25 million per season to about $52 million. Some teams also are drawing significantly increased revenue from their local television deals.
The large number of extensions reduces the quality of upcoming free-agent classes, and increases the demand for top players who do hit the open market.
One situation that bears watching: The Yankees’ negotiations with second baseman Robinson Cano, who is eligible for free agency at the end of the season.
Cano is represented by Scott Boras, who generally prefers his clients to establish their values not through extensions, but on the open market. Andrus, however, is also represented by Boras, and just two years away from free agency.
The Yankees, like Boras, rarely negotiate extensions before players complete contracts. It also seems doubtful that Cano would agree to a new deal when he could engage the Yankees, Dodgers and other clubs in a bidding war in just seven months.
Then again, the Yankees face the losses of a number of a number of potential free agents at the end of the season. Cano, 30, is the team’s biggest offensive star, and one of the Yanks’ few top performers in his prime.
Let’s just say the current environment is ripe for extensions, as evidenced by the agreements that have been reached just since Thursday:
Justin Verlander, Tigers, $180 million.
Buster Posey, Giants, $167 million.
Andrus, $120 million.
Adam Wainwright, Cardinals, $97.5 million.
Paul Goldschmidt, Diamondbacks, $32.5 million.
Oh, and don’t forget another deal from early February: Felix Hernandez’s $175 million agreement with the Mariners.